The Seguin Independent School District recently filed a complaint against the Texas Education Agency for glitches affecting about 70 students’ STAAR test performance.
According to a Wednesday SISD press release, the district filed a special education due process complaint against the Texas Education Agency on May 27 alleging TEA violated the Individual Education Plans.
“Seguin ISD has filed the due process compliant against TEA as a necessary step to fight for the rights of students that were not given the opportunity to succeed with the federally protected accommodations the students are entitled to,” the release said.
Seguin ISD Public Information Officer Sean Hoffmann said the issue stems from a glitch that had a failed text-to-speech feature needed throughout an entire test for fifth and eighth graders during the second administrated STAAR test A.
“The district called TEA to inform them of the problem, then asked whether teachers trained as test administrators could read the test out loud to the students,” the release said. “TEA officials provided the directive that teachers could not read the test aloud to students who required the accommodation.”
Seguin ISD Superintendent Stetson Roane said he did not agree with TEA’s directive.
“Our students should not suffer at the hands of TEA, and TEA should trust our teachers in the administration of the exam,” he said. “It is very important that I be clear: Teachers in the classrooms should be trusted to know more than the people in Austin.”
Hoffmann added that this feature was a federally-mandated accommodation for special education students.
“Seguin ISD is the first district to file a due process complaint against TEA with respect to this matter,” he said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, TEA confirmed that SISD was the only school district to file the complaint.
“They were the only ones to file it, as of yesterday afternoon in that manner — the due process manner,” TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said. “We have received a complaint and assigned it to an independent hearing officer who will handle the case.”
Roane said the issues involving TEA and its failure to offer alternatives set the affected students up for failure.
“I will not compromise the success of my students,” he said. “TEA had issues with their software, we suggested a solution and were told no. As a result, our students were put into a position to fail due to TEA’s errors.”
Superintendents from Marion and Navarro ISDs said they did not experienced any glitches with the test.